Have you ever had the experience of being with a close friend, partner, or spouse and after you get to share your stories you find that you have been waltzing around each other for some time without ever touching or meeting each other?
My chain of events that fit this concept started back when I was married the first time to Rev. Harvard Lesser. If you have read my book A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir you know that I married a minister right out of college and within a year or so of being his wife we began to try to have children. If you’ve read one of my previous blogs about keeping my butterfly you know that having children didn’t start out so well. But that is not where this blog is headed.
Harvard and I, along with however many children were with us at the time, would head off to visit my mother in Massachusetts. Sometimes we went because she was lonely or I was, or because it was Thanksgiving which was her big holiday. Many times as we made the turn off of Route 32 heading north to later connect with Route 12, I would look at the large house on the corner of that intersection and think to myself, ‘I wonder who lives there? I wonder what they do and what they are like. That house looks so homey to me.’ I never happened to share my thoughts with Harvard because he wasn’t into that sort of day dreaming stuff. Now hold that thought for further along in this story.
Later, in the marriage to Harvard, he was having a hard time with the church in Grows Town where he was serving as the youth minister and eventually he was given a choice, which ultimately resulted in his leaving the ministry for a while. He went into a deep depression and was virtually a house zombie for most of that winter. The following spring I was out and about doing errands when I ran into this gentleman who wanted to sell me World Book Encyclopedias and I turned him down. But when he asked if I knew of anyone who might want a job selling encyclopedias I answered, “Yes.” I told him about Harvard, that he had worked as a minister but was now taking some time away. It wasn’t too much later when this same gentleman showed up at our door and began a cold sell to see if he could enlist Harvard to become a salesman for the company. Ultimately, Harvard joined the company and sold World Book Encyclopedias for several years.
Now, Harvard’s temperament was generally fairly even, although he was talkative, except during those times when someone had made him very upset and he would have (as I’ve called it before) a hissy-fit. So this particular evening when he got home from selling I was surprised at how quiet he was and noted his spirit seemed down. “Harvard, is there something wrong?” I asked. He dodged my question at first but then he came out with it.
“I was selling over in Nerme and the people threw me out of the house.”
“They threw you out of the house? How did that happen?”
“Well, I’d gotten a teacher from the school where this couple have their children and I enlisted her to get us in the door. It is a technique that we use all the time. When the wife discovered that I was there to sell World Book instead of talking about one of their children she went ballistic. As her husband came back from the kitchen with a glass of water for me, he quickly understood what was going on and insisted that we leave.”
“Oh, Honey, I’m so sorry. That had to have been terrible,” I said as I tried to console him.
He didn’t say too much more and I had to get to bed because I had small children who would be up early the next morning: May holding Felicia, and Elizabeth.
Now we move several years forward in the story. I’ve met Sy in the divorce group and we have begun to date and share stories from our pasts. My children, who of course are going back and forth to visit with their father, Harvard, were busy filling him in on all the details of their mother’s new romance. One day as he returned my girls from their visit he asked if I had a moment to talk and I invited him into the kitchen. He said, “I was wondering, does your new boyfriend live in Nerme in a big blue house sort of set on a hill with a swing set off to the left of the house?
I thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, he does. Why do you ask?”
“It was that man and his wife that threw me out of the house all those years ago in Nerme!!”
No longer being as compassionate towards Harvard as I was before, I responded with, “Isn’t that amazing! What a small world!” I’m not sure my comment gave Harvard what he wanted, but his information certainly surprised me. [The first waltz in my recognition that Sy and I were together because of God’s timing, not ours.]
Later, as Sy and I shared more of our history I discovered that while I was a new bride in the old farmhouse parsonage of Harvard’s first parish, Sy was newly returned from serving his country and was going on the GI bill to college at University of CT. The parsonage sat high on the hill above Route 32 and Sy was driving up and down Route 32 almost daily from the lower end of Connecticut to the college. When he first told me I said, “Why didn’t you wave when you went by?” and he replied, “You didn’t tell me you were up there waiting for me!” [Waltz two in our dance on God’s time.]
Okay, now to the house on the corner. In A Bird and the Dragon I talk about trying to find someone to care for our girls while we take a mini vacation to go introduce Sy to my sister PollyAnne and her family in central Vermont. We had a lot of trouble finding someone who would babysit the girls on a Halloween weekend. Finally, Sy’s in-laws, Bootsie and Joe, said they could take the girls. The car was packed, the girls were loaded in and we are driving along Route 32 heading north. As we made the turn in the road that Harvard and I always took going to my mother’s, Sy waved his hand in the direction of my day-dream house and said, “Bootsie and Joe moved not too long ago but they used to live in that big house right on the corner.” I think my mouth fell open at that point and all I could say was, “I’ve always loved that house!” [Waltz three in God’s timing.]
Have you ever had these kinds of experiences with someone close to you? It really makes me believe that there is a plan to our lives which is ever unfolding and it is up to us to figure out and do our part to bring it to fruition, even if we don’t understand the plan. I’d like to hear about your stories of finding your intimate connections to important people in your lives.
P.S. The featured image as my Topper is looking across the Nashoba River Valley from east to west. And if you look very closely there is a perpendicular white spec about a fourth of the way from the right of the picture. That is the water tower that provided the water for the boys at the Industrial School for Boys, in Shirley (Shakerton) Massachusetts and was just above my parent’s retirement home. The Industrial School has been leveled and in it’s place is a maximum security prison, which was on the news last night (April 19, 2017) because of the suicide of a famous inmate, Aaron Hernandez.